IRVING, N.Y. — The stretch of the New York State Thruway that runs through the Seneca Nation is in poor shape, claims Rep. Tom Reed, and he is calling on the Governor and state to step up.
“Enough of petty politics and putting people’s lives in jeopardy by allowing these conditions to exist,” Reed said in Irving on Thursday.
Reed says that both federal and state dollars are budgeted toward road maintenance, but this section of Interstate 90 continues to suffer from neglect.
Reed, (R) NY-23, says he believes ongoing issues between Albany and the Seneca Nation – such as the dispute over casino revenue – may be the underlying reason. While he can’t prove it, he believes the state is leveraging the Thruway as a form of political pressure to settle disputes.
Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello and Assemblyman Joe Giglio echoed Reed’s statements, saying the Senecas are good neighbors.
“The stalemate is has to end. It’s wrong. It’s wrong for the people of Seneca Nation, it’s wrong for the people of Chautauqua County, and it is certainly wrong for the people who pay to travel through every single day at that expense,” Borrello said.
Giglio points out that stretch of the Thruway is one of the first things tourists see coming from Pennsylvania.
The Seneca Nation wouldn’t speculate about why that stretch of road hasn’t been repaired, but issued this statement:
“The Seneca Nation has regularly approved resolutions that provide for routine maintenance of roadways that cross our territories, but the repair work needed on these roads goes far beyond routine maintenance. Thousands of travelers, most of whom are non-Seneca, travel these roads every day. The longer the needed repairs are not completed, the more dangerous the situation becomes for all travelers.”Statement from Seneca Nation
A request for a direct response from the governor was not returned, but a spokesperson for the Thruway Authority sent this statement to News 4:
“The Authority is working toward an agreement with the Seneca Nation to move ahead with a contract to begin rehabilitation of the roadway in the Seneca Nation territory. This is a road that traverses the Seneca community and therefore, like any community impacted by our projects, we work with them to help mitigate any disruption the roadwork may cause.”Thruway spokesperson